Sunday, 16 November 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 343: Thu Dec 11

 Nuit et Jour (Akerman, 1991): ICA Cinema, 7pm

This is part of the A Nos Amours film club Chantal Akerman retrospective. Details here.

Here is the ICA introduction:
Julie (Londez) and Jack (Langmann) are a provincial couple in love who have only just moved to Paris. Home is a small flat, but just the nest for young lovers. By day they make love, while by night Jack drives a taxi, and Julie walks the summer streets, singing happily to herself. They meet Joseph (Negret), another newcomer to the city, driver of Jack's cab by the day. Julie falls for Joseph. Julie now has lovers round the clock. Julie resists making a choice. Why should she? She can even happily, dreamily make do without sleep. Is night better than day, or vice versa?

Picking up on the insomnia and nocturnals of Toute une nuit and Les rendez-vous d'Anna, but finding a new ease, and musical cadence to the marking of time and gesture that seems quite composed and song-like. Perhaps the Akerman is channeling the mysterious and other-worldly patterns of Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse dancing in the dark in Central Park (thinking of course of the Band Wagon of 1953). In any case, this is a remarkable, ravishing film, full of brilliance.

This screening is introduced by the critic Olaf Möller.

Chicago Reader review:
One of the constants of Chantal Akerman's remarkable work is a powerful if “heavy” painterly style that practically precludes narrative flow even when she's telling stories. Even at her best, as in Jeanne Dielman and The Man With a Suitcase, the only kind of character development she seems able to articulate with conviction is a gradual descent into madness. But the relatively unneurotic Night and Day (1991) strikes me as her most successful work in years. Julie (Guilaine Londez), the heroine, makes love to Jack (Thomas Langmann) in their small flat by day and wanders through Paris at night while he drives a cab—until she meets Joseph (Francois Negret) and guiltlessly launches a secret nighttime affair with him. Akerman brings a lyricism to the material that makes it “sing” like a musical. Whether the camera is gracefully traversing Jack and Julie's flat or slowly retreating from Julie and Joseph across bustling traffic while he recounts the things he loves about Paris, Akerman seems to have discovered both a musical rhythm for her mise en scene and a deftness in integrating her score that eluded her in her literal musical Window Shopping. This movie isn't for everyone—no Akerman feature is—but if you care about her work you shouldn't miss it.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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